Content strategist Jennie Kim lays out the three components of a winning content strategy and...
Cloudy as the present recession remains, it bears silver linings of inspirational new ideas among marketers faced with navigating a radically changed marketplace.
“From analyzing the way consumers think and behave to the kinds of market activities that require investment during an economic downturn, marketers viewed the recession as a seminal event in the lives of their brands and a critical point for learning for future strategies,” writes Tim Travis, a communications specialist and editor at leading global market research company Ipsos.1
In no industry is this truer than financial services, where good and bad actors alike are still healing scorched brand/audience relationships.
“The fundamental value of financial institutions is clouded by the anger and the confusion people feel,” Bank of America’s CMO Anne Finucane told The New York Times in June 2009.2 And in an April 2009 report, Gartner Research found that while banks “continue to talk about growing their relationships with their customers … the majority of customers have no interest in developing any relationship with their bank.”3
This, as marketers identify customer acquisition and retention as their leading priorities for 2010. Of the 100 marketers surveyed by virtual events provider Unisfair in September 2009, 60 percent put new customer acquisition atop their 2010 agenda, with 48 percent focused on retaining existing customers—with social media, search engine optimization and e-mail marketing programs coming out “the big winners” in the marketing mix.4
The good news? As consumer expectations seismically shift, financial marketers are combining new technologies and greater social awareness with meaningful, relevant content to re-anchor customer beachheads.
Pull, Don't Push
Val DiFebo, president of advertising agency Deutsch New York, takes a different temperature reading of consumer angst than Bank of America’s Finucane. “We wouldn’t characterize it as anger anymore,” she offered in the same New York Times piece. “We would say that consumers are past the angry phase, and everybody’s waiting to see what the banks will do.”5
If that is the case, then financial firms have a super-prime opportunity to transform the lines of communication, perception and trust from negative back to positive. Sorting out the meltdown’s aftermath is a priority task, but marketers must also reckon with confluent other forces reshaping customer relationship dynamics.